December 18, 2012

How Much More Expensive is Organic Food?

Last week Retire By 40 questioned Are Organic Foods Worth The Premium?   While organic foods are still only around 4% of total food sales, a growing number of people buy organic.

But a side topic of that discussion is : what IS the actual premium cost for organic?   Or to put it another way:  how much more expensive is organic food?    I thought I'd answer that question with a example of various organic food prices compared to the typical non-organic options. 

Here's a sample of prices for regular foods versus organic food in several categories:



Reg Organic premium
Apple Juice 0.03 0.07 133%
Wheat bread 0.05 0.15 200%
Cheerios/Cascadian O's 0.26 0.44 69%
Black Bean - can 0.07 0.09 29%
Vegetable soup 0.13 0.22 69%
1% milk gallon 0.03 0.06 100%
Eggs AA dozen 2.09 4.49 115%
Angel hair pasta 0.08 0.39 388%
Chicken breast, lb 0.37 0.56 51%

The prices are the cost per ounce except for eggs which is the cost for a dozen.   I simply grabbed some prices from Safeway. Unfortunately Safeway didn't list the produce so I don't have prices for fruits or vegetables.     This is just a sample of prices and only meant as an example.   Of course these prices will change over time and vary from store to store. 

As you can see in the table the premium for the organic foods varies based on the kind of food.  Some organic options are only ~30% more while others are 3-4 times as expensive. 

It may make a little more sense to look at a grocery bag full of food.  If you went to the grocery store with the above list and bought everything in typical quantities then you'd spend a total of $24.30 for the regular foods and $44.06 on the organic versions.   Thats an 81% total premium for the organic grocery list.

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